Asghar Fakhrieh Kashan

Iran says US trying to seize plane purchase payments

Press TV- Iran says the United States is trying to confiscate the payments for purchases of planes thus indicating that Washington may be already drawing closer to killing an ambitious plan to rejuvenate its dilapidated aviation fleet.    

Iran’s Deputy Minister of Roads and Urban Development Asghar Fakhrieh Kashan was quoted by the domestic media as saying that a newly ratified bill in the US House of Representatives which envisaged monitoring Iran’s plane purchase contracts would be specifically instrumental in undermining Iran’s plane purchase campaigns.

Fakhrieh Kashan said the plan would either be meant to deter financial institutions from funding any Iran-related transactions or would trace and eventually confiscate the payments that Iran would make for purchasing the planes.

He said the bill would not ban sales of planes to Iran, but would nonetheless create serious obstacles on the way of selling planes to Iran.

“If this bill is finally approved [by the Senate], sales of planes by Boeing and Airbus [to Iran] would face problems which is a clear violation of the nuclear agreement by the US,” the official emphasized.

“This is because one of the clearest points in the agreement is dedicated to sales of planes to Iran.”

US lawmakers on Thursday approved a bill that will bring the sales of American planes to Iran under the close scrutiny of the Congress.

The bill passed 252-167 — all but four Republicans supported it, and they were joined by 23 Democrats.

It would require the Treasury Department to report to Congress on Iranian purchases of US aircraft and how those sales would be financed.

Last year, Iran opened plane purchase talks with US aviation giant Boeing and its European rival Airbus shortly after sanctions that banned sales of planes among other economic restrictions were lifted in light of a nuclear agreement that Iran had achieved with the five permanent members of the Security Council – the US, Britain, France, Russia, China – plus Germany.

The agreement – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or the JCPOA – was achieved after lengthy negotiations that eventually resolved disputes over the Iranian nuclear energy program. It envisages certain measures by Iran to limit certain aspects of its nuclear energy activities in return for the removal of sanctions against it.

In December 2016, Iran Air signed deals to purchase 80 Boeing jets with a total price tag of $16.6 billion.

In December 2016, Iran Air signed deals to purchase 80 Boeing jets with a total price tag of $16.6 billion.

Fakhrieh Kashan emphasized that the JCPOA clearly specified that the US would issue the required authorizations for sales of planes to Iran.

“[The JCPOA] goes even beyond merely planes and says spare parts, after sales services and the related technologies should also be sold to Iran,” he was quoted as saying by Iran’s IRNA news agency.

“Therefore, the sales of planes has been so clearly addressed in the JCPOA that any move by the US against it would be a violation of the agreement.”

Fakhrieh Kashan further said Iran would file a complaint against the US in Joint Committee established over the implementation of the nuclear agreement.  He also stressed that Iran had already envisaged moves to repatriate its payments to Boeing and Airbus should a ban or any other problem occurs from the side of the Americans.

In December 2016, Boeing sealed deals with Iran’s flag-carrier airliner Iran Air over sales of 80 jets valued at $16.6 billion. They include 50 narrow-body Boeing 737 passenger jets and 30 wide-body 777 aircraft.  Iran Air also sealed deals with Airbus over purchases of 100 planes worth $18-20 billion at list prices and has already received three of them.